After serving an 80 game suspension, Pedro Severino has been activated by the Milwaukee Brewers. With this move the Brewers now have three active catchers on their 26-man roster as Severino will join Omar Narvaez and Victor Caratini.
Tyrone Taylor was placed on the seven day concussion IL in a corresponding move. With Hunter Renfroe on the IL with a calf injury, that means Christian Yelich, Jonathan Davis, and Andrew McCutchen are the only active outfielders on the roster, however Jace Peterson has been playing a lot of right field lately as a result.
For manager Craig Counsell, finding playing time for three catchers will be tricky. Omar Narvaez has received the vast majority of starts as the primary backstop but Victor Caratini, who was acquired via trade solely due to Severino’s suspension, has made the most of his playing time.
Both Narvaez and Caratini have excelled at throwing base runners out this year while being above league average hitters at the plate. Narvaez has a 1.3 fWAR and 104 wRC+ and Caratini 1.6 fWAR and 132 wRC+.
Severino is not known for being great defensively, but his career batting splits against southpaws are very good, so odds are the Brewers will want to get him in the lineup during those matchups. He was playing first base during his minor league rehab stint, so he could make some appearances there.
Aside from playing time, another tricky aspect to consider is the fact that Severino is ineligible for postseason play this year due to the suspension. So while the Brewers could utilize his bat against left handed pitching, he will not be an option come October should they make the playoffs.
In all likelihood, the Brewers will not carry three catchers the remainder of the season and a corresponding move is looming.
Long term, it makes more sense to have just two catchers on the 26-man roster and utilize that roster spot for either a pitcher or a position player. The tricky part is how they manage to do this while keeping the team strong and not having to depart ways with any of the catchers.
The Brewers have the ability to option Caratini down to the minors until playoff time, but given how well he has played that isn’t the best move for the team. Severino, who has no minor league options remaining, would have to clear waivers in order for that to occur to him.
Primary catcher Omar Narvaez is set to become a free agent after this season, but departing with him during this season wouldn’t be very beneficial given how well he has performed. Moving Narvaez now would also mean that Caratini would be the starting catcher in the postseason, unless another transaction was made.
The Brewers do have options to consider, but it is complex. It should be interesting to see what will transpire with their dilemma in an influx of catchers.